Is there such a thing as objectification in Buddhism? Namely, objectification here means treating someone else as an object, or for their appearance. However, it means also many other things, so I'll just leave the question open. Hence:

What does Buddhism say about objectification?

5 Answers 5


"Jati" is objectification. The mind "produces" ("abhinibbatti") the notion of "beings" ("sattānaṃ") based on the "appearance/manifestation" ("pātubhāvo") of various "aggregates" ("khandhānaṃ") and their pre-occupation (paṭilābho) with sense spheres (āyatanānaṃ).

For example, some aggregates manifest a buxom 38-24-36 hour-glass figure and these aggregates are pre-occupied with looking in mirrors, putting make-up on their faces & getting men to give attention to them. As a result of this appearance of aggregates & pre-occupation with sense spheres, your ignorant mind sexually objectifies deluded aggregates as "sexy women".

  • Ironically I feel objectified by this answer - it suggests that women with hour-glass figures are always pre-occupied with looking in mirrors, putting on make-up and getting men to give attention to them. Nov 27, 2019 at 9:46
  • I did not say "women" with hour glass figures. I said "aggregates" with hour glass figures. It follows your mind might be engaging in self-objectification. Regards Nov 27, 2019 at 11:05
  • You linked to images of women. Anyhow, my point is that you suggest that anybody (that is: any aggregage) with an hourglass figure is obsessed with their looks. Nov 27, 2019 at 13:24
  • @KatinkaHesselink Actually he says 'some' not all for the purposes of his example. Some aggregates have six-packs and beards and behave the same way.
    – user14119
    Nov 27, 2019 at 13:39
  • This is about grammar I guess. He says some aggregates have a buxom figure and they (which suggests all such aggregates) are pre-occupied etc. Nov 27, 2019 at 14:33

It's not mentioned directly, but through logic you can see that if craving/desire (tanha) is eliminated, then there is no room for using others as objects.


many times the perceived object has a nature to it. that is, the feeling of beauty or ugliness is associated to some rendering of some particular. this is not going to agree with the objectification, rather, impulse to do so is warranted by the free will. therefore, if solidification is occurring via association of form and mind, that is only the way for a clueless person to gain the satisfaction of momentary bliss. now, you have to deal with the surrendering of that formalization, which is surely known as duhkha. thus one must eventually learn to choose the suffering paradigm or the paradigm of liberation. note: i object to the buddha, as he has already given too many good answers in so many quadrants.


Various schools of Buddhism have asserted different philosophical assertions regarding the path, reality, etc. Objectification can be in 2 ways- objectifying appearances as real and objectifying the knowledge, which as a consequence leads to 'essential (as one and only)' justifications. Therefore, an answer to your question in short, early schools of Buddhism assert dharmas to be real existents while Madhyamika school of Buddhism are a critique of objectivity in general. They do not assert dharmas to be objectively real. The concept of emptiness is a critique of objective reality objectification.

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